Saturday, 22 April 2017

Goodman Games Gen Con 2015 Program Book

The Goodman Games Gen Con 2015 Program Book is described on RPG Now as being written and illustrated by Goodman Games, and is published by Goodman Games as well. Apart from specific adventures or articles, and self-reporting (bios, author notes, etc.), I didn't see any other attribution.

Disclosure: I wrote The Black Feather Blade for this product, and was one of the authors of The Hypercube of Myt.

This is a monster of a book. Seriously, this thing is well over 200 pages. As with other discussions of "mixed bag" type products, my focus here is going to be on Dungeon Crawl Classics material.

In this case, that's entirely necessary, or you'd need an hour or more to read this post.

Nice van on the cover. Let's look inside!

Tables For Thieves: Useful tables for any game featuring thieves, cut-throats, and other murderous rogues. Dieter Zimmerman supplies 8 Places to Have a Secret Meeting, 12 Places to Find a Hidden Key, 20 Items for Sale on the Black Market, and 14 Members of the City Watch. It says "Continued on page 152", but it is not. It is on page 154. There you get 8 Ways to Pass the Time in Prison, 10 Odd Jobs Assigned by the Thieves' Guild, and 24 Interesting Things Found in a Stolen Pouch.

Interview With Lou Zocchi: Colonel Lou Zocchi is "the original dice guy", who you might remember from the zocchihedron die. Learn more about him.

Cranking Up the Funk in DCC Dice Rolling: Author Terry Olson tells you everything you wanted to know about odds in rolling dice, but were afraid to ask. He explains the dice chain, gives a couple of alternate methods of rolling ability scores, looks at critical hits, and mercurial magic, suggesting methods that the dice can be used to get more interesting results at the table.

Twenty Funky Dice Tables: Ken St. Andre provides twenty tables, from the relatively useless (D5: Five Games You Can Play With Your Parents) to the potentially useful (D12: When Good Magic Goes Bad). This is mostly an exercise in whimsical fun.

The Black Feather Blade: A level 1 adventure by Daniel J. Bishop, this offering sees your PCs attempt to gain the titular weapon before two NPC parties do. The adventure is themed around Malotoch the Carrion Crow God, so there are plenty of body parts involved. As such, there is a Luck mechanic called "Malotoch's Favor". Use it.

Some author's notes:
  • The idea of the NPC parties was a nod to Robert E. Howard's The Black Stranger. In this story, three factions (one being Conan) maneuver to gain the treasure of Tranicos while a sinister figure menaces all.
  • The burial tomb at Area F is inspired by that master of the haunted tale, M.R. James, and his story, Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad.
  • The "raven-headed horror" in Area C4 was originally vulture-headed...because in an email about a year previous to writing this, Joseph Goodman suggested that he would like to see a vulture-headed creature in an adventure sometime. I thought that I would oblige. That's also why the corpse eaters in Area A have two elbows on each arm and two knees on each leg. Same email.
Xcrawl Apocalyse: The Athelete: "Dungeon Crawl Classics and Xcrawl come together at last! Get ready for the unholy spawn of Dungeon Crawl Classics, the dark RPG of glory and gold won by sword and spell, and Xcrawl, the game that’s nastier than a Type II demon with Type III herpes. Welcome to Xcrawl Apocalypse!" Brendan LaSalle offers the first class for this new unholy union.

Appendix F: The Ythoth Raider: An expansion of the Purple Planet Author’s Edition Glossography: This is the Ythoth Raider class by Harley Stroh, creator of the Purple Planet.

Evil Reborn: Jon Hook offers a 4th level adventure which is essentially a sequel to DCC #13: Crypt of the Devil Lich. DCC #13 was written for 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons, but this is a Dungeon Crawl Classics adventure which brings elements from the original adventure into the DCC fold.

DCC World Tour 2014: Including scenes from the road with the Goodman Games crew.

Art Folio: Doug Kovacs: In color.

Art Folio: William McAusland: Also in color.

The Seventh Pit of Sezrekan: This is a 0-level funnel by Harley Stroh. The author writes:
Hosted at Gen Con 2014, the Seven Pits of Serzrekan was the first Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG Funnel Tournament. Each player was given a single 0-level PC, and success in the tournament was judged by the number of encounters a PC survived. Over the course of four sessions, 136 PCs met their fate in the fell pits. The tournament ended in a 3-way tie, with each PC surviving no less than 8 encounters, and was decided by a dice-off on the last day of Gen Con. (See photos on page 53!) 
Not all of the Seven Pits were explored during the convention. Submitted for your consideration: two areas that saw the least exploration, and the seventh and final pit of Sezrekan.
I don't know about you, but I would like to see the Seven Pits of Serzrekan available for purchase someday.

Funnel Character Sheet: For DCC Funnel Tournaments. You can now get these sheets pre-filled at Purple Sorcerer's website.

How to Run a DCC RPG Tournament Funnel: Worth reading if you want to do this. Also, you can listen to this episode of Spellburn. Or read this.

Dear Archmage Abbey: Fun flummery, as in the previous year.

The Hypercube of Myt: This is a 0-level tournament adventure written by Jim Wampler, Stephen Newton, Daniel J. Bishop, Dak Ultimak, Adam Muszkiewicz, and Jeffrey Tadlock. It was available as a free pdf for Free Role-Playing Game Day in 2015. I ran it at Dueling Grounds in Toronto. I was responsible for the Endless Hallway, which I originally envisioned as a length of cosmic intestine, causing me to create a few things that didn't fit in the final version.

New Devices for the Starship Warden: Robert Payne offers some new devices for James W. Ward's Metamorphosis Alpha.

Even More Mutations: Dieter Zimmerman offers some new mutations for James W. Ward's Metamorphosis Alpha. Some of the things in these two articles may be transferable to Dungeon Crawl Classics, particularly Crawling Under a Broken Moon, Crawljammer, or Mutant Crawl Classics.

2015 Mailing Labels: Because Goodman Games' mailing labels rock.

Maximum Xcrawl: Best Possible Combination: Fiction by Brendan LaSalle.

Art Folio: Doug Kovacs: Now in glorious black and white. Including interviews with the gentleman artist.

The Mythos Alphabet: Written by Brad McDevitt, with the assistance of Jon Hook and Brendan LaSalle. The author writes: "In the tradition of our popular Dungeon Alphabet and
Monster Alphabet titles, here is a brief look at abecedarian inspiration from the works of H.P. Lovecraft. If you enjoy this concept, let us know...perhaps we’ll make a book of it!" How is this not a thing already?

Here we get D is For Deep Ones, M is For Madness, T is for Tentacles, and W is for Worshippers. Again, how is this not a thing already?

Art Folio: William McAusland: Now also in glorious black and white. Now also including interviews with the gentleman artist. I have to admit, Joseph Goodman has a good eye for hiring excellent artists, as paging through literally any Goodman Games product will attest!

Mutant Crawl Classics Preview: This is exactly what it says on the tin. Goodman Games has made this preview available here as a free pdf download.

Journey to the Hole in the Sky: Fiction by Brendan J. LaSalle, based on The Hole in the Sky.

Judge's Guild 1977 Fantasy Catalog: A reproduction only. Do not try to order from this catalog without an operational TARDIS!

The Gamer's Yearbook: Mostly flummery, in the style of the wanted ads and agony columns of yore.

Get It Here!

Friday, 21 April 2017

Goodman Games Gen Con 2014 Program Book

The Goodman Games Gen Con 2014 Program Book is described on RPG Now as being written and illustrated by Goodman Games, and is published by Goodman Games as well. Apart from specific adventures, and self-reporting (bios, author notes, etc.), I didn't see any other attribution.

Disclosure: There is a preview for my The Dread God Al-Khazadar in this volume, with my Designer Notes and a short bio.

As with other discussions of "mixed bag" type products, my focus here is going to be on Dungeon Crawl Classics material. Let's look inside!

Gen Con Luck Chart: Not listed in the Table of Contents. You might have gotten a freebie from the Goodman Games crew if you rolled at the Goodman Games booth. Or you might have been asked to "Provide Doug [Kovacs] with a pint of your own blood to be mixed into his paint for the next DCC RPG cover." Seems to be the same as last year.

Age of Cthulhu: Transatlantic Terror: An adventure by Jon Hook for 1920s Call of Cthulhu. Could this be turned into a funnel scenario using Dungeon Crawl Classics period-based characters? Yes it could.

Dear Archmage Abbey: A bit of fun flummery.

DCC RPG Worlds Tour: Not sure why this made it to the Table of Contents.

Tales From the Road Crew: Stories and pictures of Dungeon Crawl Classics events featuring the Goodman Games crew, "The Curse of Many Faces" and "The Battle of Gary Con".

DCC Bonus Encounters: Preordering Intrigue at the Court of Chaos, The One Who Watches From Below, and Bride of the Black Manse gave you a chance to receive postcard-sized extras printed with extra encounter areas. These are reprinted here.

The Emerald Enchanter Strikes Back: In true Appendix N style, author Jobe Bittman reveals that the Emerald Enchanter did not die at the end of his titular adventure. Now he wants his vengeance, and he has a giant robot to help him do it. Not only that, but there is a nod to Doom of the Savage Kings!

2014 Mailing Labels: Cool art.

The DCC Cover Design Process: More cool art, and information about how those covers are designed.

The ABECEDARIAN Adventure: Featuring expanded material for The Dungeon Alphabet (O is Also for Omens by Michael Curtis, and no, it isn't in my expanded copy either, so I guess you can only get it in this Program Book!) and previewing the upcoming (at the time) The Monster Alphabet.

Maximum Xcrawl: Too Tough to Die: Fiction by C. L. Werner.

Metamorphosis Alpha: Coming of Age: An adventure by James M. Ward. Once again, I am going to suggest that this could be converted to Dungeon Crawl Classics...perhaps using The Umerican Survival Guide and Mutant Crawl Classics (when these become available) as handy source books for doing so.

Coming Soon for DCC RPG: Previews (with designer notes and bios) for several products. These are Against the Atomic Overlord, The 998th Conclave of Wizards, Journey to the Centre of Aereth, Hole in the Sky, The Dread God Al-Khazadar, The Making of the Ghost Ring, and The Four Phantasmagorias. This last product, by Michael Curtis, is still in the wings somewhere. All good things take time, and I imagine DCC Lankhmar has taken up a wee bit of Mr. Curtis' time between then and now. In addition, Joseph Goodman has a sidebar about Alien Planets in this section.

Other Products Coming Soon: The Adventurer's Almanac, GM Gems, Age of Cthulhu: The Lost Expedition, and two other "exciting hardcovers" that were announced at the "What's New With Goodman Games?" seminar. If memory serves, these should be Grimtooth's Traps and the Judges Guild Deluxe Collector's Edition.

D40 Questions: The Goodman Gang: The Goodman Games crew answer some randomly generated questions from a list of 40. Included are Jobe Bittmen, Mike Curtis, Joseph Goodman, Jon Hershberger, Keith Labaw, Brendan LaSalle, Doug Kovacs (who gets &^#!@ bleeped!), Brad McDevitt, Peter Mullen, Stefan Poag, Harley Stroh, and Dieter Zimmerman.

The Vandroid: Finally, Joseph Goodman delivers a "robot created from the components of a classic 1970's Ford custom van." Full DCC stats included.

Get It Here!

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Goodman Games Gen Con 2013 Program Book

The Goodman Games Gen Con 2013 Program Book is described on RPG Now as being written and illustrated by Goodman Games, and is published by Goodman Games as well. Apart from specific adventures, and self-reporting (bios, author notes, etc.), I didn't see any other attribution.

This was the first of the now-annual Goodman Games Program Books, compiled for the 12th anniversary of the publisher. Joseph Goodman wrote: "This Program Book is a new idea for communicating with our fans. It’s full of sneak previews, staff bios, insider info, convention coupons, and other fun tidbits. Let me know if you think we should keep it around next year."

Obviously, there was enough positive feedback to keep the Program Books coming!

As with other discussions of "mixed bag" type products, my focus here is going to be on Dungeon Crawl Classics material. Let's look inside!

Gen Con Luck Chart: Not listed in the Table of Contents. You might have gotten a freebie from the Goodman Games crew if you rolled at the Goodman Games booth. Or you might have been asked to "Provide Doug [Kovacs] with a pint of your own blood to be mixed into his paint for the next DCC RPG cover."

Bios of the Band: Harley Stroh, Doug Kovacs, Brendan LaSalle, Michael Curtis, Brad McDevitt, Stefan Poag, Peter Mullen, Dieter Zimmerman, Keith Labaw, Jon Hershberger, and Joseph Goodman get brief bios. Dungeon Crawl Classics statistics are, sadly, not provided.

Autograph Page: For autographs.

The Band: Pictures of the Band from various modules, from DCC #67 (Sailors on the Starless Sea) to DCC #79 (Frozen in Time), with small descriptions for how and why the line-up has changed.

What’s next for DCC RPG?: Goodman Games announces some upcoming releases: Intrigue at the Court of Chaos, The One Who Watches From Below, The Black Manse, The Chained Coffin, Peril on the Purple Planet, and Glipkerio's Gambit. You will note that titles may change from announcement to release. Author notes are interesting.

What’s next for Age of Cthulhu?: Starfall Over the Plateau of Leng. Don't imagine that you can't convert Age of Cthulhu to Dungeon Crawl Classics.

Of interest, on the first page of this section there is a note: "But what about the Annual? We knew you DCC RPG fans would ask. It’s out there lurking, waiting for the right time to be announced. Think 2014 — along with some other exciting hardbacks and boxed sets..."

What’s next for Systems Neutral?: Some information on the long-awaited Adventurers Almanac by Michael Curtis, GM Gems in hardcover, and The Monster Alphabet by Jobe Bittman with Michael Curtis. A sample table is included: X is for Xenotransplant.

DCC RPG adventure: The Undulating Corruption: This level 5 Dungeon Crawl Classics adventure by Michael Curtis was featured in the Goodman Games Free RPG Day 2012 release.

DCC RPG adventure: The Jeweler that Dealt in Stardust: This level 3 Dungeon Crawl Classics adventure by Harley Stroh was also featured in the Goodman Games Free RPG Day 2012 release.

World Tour Poster: I'm not really sure why this made the Table of Contents.

What’s Next for Xcrawl?: Notification that Maximum Xcrawl is (was) ready for pre-order.

Maximum Xcrawl Preview: Overview of the world of Maximum Xcrawl, and character creation rules. Maximum Xcrawl uses Pathfinder for its engine. When this came out, we were still years away from Dungeon Crawl Classics-powered Xcrawl adventures!

Maximum Xcrawl adventure: 2013 Studio City Crawl: A level 6-8 adventure, by Brendan LaSalle, using Pathfinder-based rules.

Gen Con Event Schedule and Exclusives: The listed exclusives were DCC #78: Fate’s Fell Hand (gold foil cover), DCC #78.5: Tower of the Black Pearl, the DCC RPG Official Bag of Weird Dice, Gen Con 2013 T-shirt " swag! DCC RPG buttons Xcrawl giant foam hands ...and more!"

Scenes From the Tour: Pictures from the Goodman Games World Tour featuring the Goodman Games Band.

Join the DCC RPG Road Crew!: What you got in 2013 for being a Road Crew judge.

Get It Here!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Divinities & Cults Volume II

Divinities & Cults Volume II: Roman & Celtic was written by Dan Osarchuk and illustrated by Luigi Castellani. Stock art was also used. The publisher is OSRDAN games.

This product was originally designed for Labyrinth Lord, so the prospective judge may discover some tweaking is necessary to get the best use with Dungeon Crawl Classics. Nonetheless, there is a wealth of material here, and the value for price point is more than adequate!

If anything, Volume II is even better than Volume I. It contains full write-ups for the following deities:

  • Brigid
  • Cernunnos
  • The Dagda
  • Dis Pater
  • Lugh
  • Manannan Mac Lir
  • Mars
  • Mercury
  • The Morrighan
  • Trivia
  • Vesta
  • Venus
  • Vulcan

In addition, there are write-ups for five "Demon Lords, Etc.": Balor, Beliah, Enak, Orcus, and Thrym. Enak is the "Lawful (Evil) Arch-Devil of Technology", who would thus be appropriate to a Crawling Under a Broken Moon or a Crawljammer campaign.

Appendix A: Additional Divinities offers brief write-ups of expanded Greek, Norse, Roman, and Celtic pantheons. Appendix B: Additional Divinity Considerations for Volume I offers minor tweaks to the information found in Volume I. Appendix C: Magic of the Gods supplies some methods of modifying idol magic spell checks.

In addition, there are a number of sidebars and random encounter options. One random encounter option that is particularly useful is "Cleric Encounters & Disposition". You encounter a cleric? What does she want? That depends upon who her deity is, and a random die roll. Nodes, Otherworlds, and Underworld Encounters will be useful for most games. Brothel Encounters will be useful in some. It is also nice that the outdoor encounters include things like changes in weather and surface terrain.

This work is both imaginative and well-researched. Whether you are going to use it as-is, or use it to spur your own creativity, it will make your pantheons - and by extension, your clerics - more distinctive and flavorful.

Get It Here!

Monday, 17 April 2017

Dispatches from the Raven Crowking Vol. 4

Dispatches from the Raven Crowking Vol. IV: Megadungeons and Campaigns was written by Daniel J. Bishop. Artwork is by Tamas Baranya, Gary Dupuis, Jacob Blackmon, and Kristen M. Collins. The publisher is Purple Duck Games. This is the second Porphyran Patreons product produced for Dungeon Crawl Classics.

This product is made possible with the generous support of Purple Duck's Patreons: Craig, Daniel Bishop, Diogo Nogueria, EnochSeven, Geoff Forcella, Hunyock, Jeff Goad, Jeremy Friesen, Keith Nelson, Lorne Cooper, M Woolsey, Maxwell Spann, Michael Jones, Patrick Pilgrim, Paul Go, Rompcat, Ryan, Stephen Murrish, Stewart Wilson, Terry Olson, Tony Hogard, Trevor Bramble, and Wes Fournier.

Disclosure: I am the author, and also a Patreon.

This fourth volume of Dispatches focuses on megadungeons, but contains advice that applies to developing campaigns as well. As with previous volumes, this material largely consists of reworked blog posts from Raven Crowking's Nest.

This volume contains:

Introduction: A brief introduction.

Dungeon Crawl Classics: Short Story or Novel?: Which way do we view this game? A sporadic series of short adventures, or a well-developed game? An argument may be made for both, but can you safely invoke Appendix N to bolster the "sporadic adventures" side?

Balanced Encounters: Who manages risk? The players or the judge?

M is for Megadungeons: We now leap into the design phase of making a megadungeon as part of a persistent campaign milieu. The next sections (The Importance of Names, Evocative Monsters, Legendary Treasures, Brainstorming, Pattern Mapping, Placing Elements, and From General to Specific) all follow a method of creating and then placing elements within a whole. By the end, we have a general layout plan for a megadungeon, as well as an overview of the above-ground portions of a ruined town.

In fact, the ruins of Balton Major, the village of Balton Minor, and the environs of the Greenshaw forest may be developed in full for Purple Duck at some future point.

Otyughs: Dwellers in Filth: "Deep beneath the city, where the offal from the sewers collects in deep pits, dwell the dreaded otyughs." This is a Dungeon Crawl Classics write-up of a Dungeons & Dragons staple.

The Megadungeon and Dungeon Crawl Classics: This article offers another way of looking at megadungeons in Dungeon Crawl Classics.

Get It Here!

The Gong Farmer's Revenge

The Gong Farmer's Revenge, by Mark Tasaka (writing and cartography), is a Dungeon Crawl Classics adventure for 6-10 level 1 characters. It is published by Old School Adventures.

This adventure follows the events of Kobolds Stole My Cat. Although the earlier adventure doesn't need to be played to use The Gongfarmer's Revenge, the two adventures are clearly intended to be used together, as several plot elements and characters are introduced in Kobolds Stole My Cat.

The Gong Farmer's Revenge is an interesting work, but one that the aspiring judge will want to go through carefully before running. The area around the village of Greenleaf, for instance, may seem too dangerous to be believable for many judges, but the encounters provided need not all be run as part of this adventure. I quite like the encounter with the ravens and the giant spider, which has a fairy tale feel to it which would fit well with a milieu in which includes Bride of the Darkened Rider and/or Creeping Beauties of the Wood.

I also rather liked that the author considered three possible outcomes for the adventure, dependng upon the choices of the players and their characters' success at bringing those choices to fruition. It is unfortunate that the author is far enough removed from a medieval agrarian existence that he didn't understand the potential importance of gong farming both to supply fertilizer and, later, to supply niter (saltpeter) for the manufacture of gunpowder and explosives. Our gong farmer, taken back for trial, could not only claim that he was protecting the livelihood of himself and his kith, but potentially that of Greenleaf's farming community!

If you roll up a gongfarmer as your starting occupation, you gain a bag of night soil as your trade goods. Human waste was called "night soil" because, in Tudor England, there were strict laws about when it could be collected due to the stench. A cruel judge, or one who merely cares about verisimilitude, can add an element of the overpowering odor of human waste to the dwelling of the vengeful gong farmer of the adventure's title.

"Oscar" and her kind may be the most interesting element in the adventure, perhaps because they are not fleshed out. Regardless of how your group handles the gong farmer, if any of Oscar's children managed to survive, hidden away in the connected latrine-pits of Greenleaf, they may arise one day to avenge their slain mother. Perhaps that was  always their plan. Or perhaps they just want to eat night soil in the "comfort" of their own outhouses.

There are also some language issues you'll want to be aware of: I recommend reading the read-aloud text aloud before running this adventure, and then either paraphrasing or editing the text to match the natural cadence of your normal speech. Watch out for assumptions about what the PCs are doing as well.

Please note that this is a free adventure, and the author went out of his way to include things like an Appendix offering a full character sheet for an NPC who may accompany the PCs. None of the foregoing is meant to dissuade you from this product which, if a bit whimisical or rough-around-the-edges in places, will still offer you a solid session or two of gaming, a few new monsters for your campaign milieu, and (with Kobolds Stole My Cat) an example of how adventures may be linked together.

Get It Here!

The Gong Farmer's Almanac 2016

Credited to Dan Domme on Lulu, the 2016 edition of The Gongfarmer’s Almanac was a massive undertaking written, illustrated, and produced by the DCC RPG G+ community under the creative vision and direction of Doug Kovacs, Harley Stroh, Jon Hershberger, Marc Bruner, Matt Hildebrand, and Michael Jones, under the rubric of the Gongfarmer's Local #282.

For discussions of each volume see below:

Volume 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Volume 4

Volume 5

Volume 6

Volume 7

Volume 8

Get It Here!